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Genome. 2015 Oct;58(10):423-31. doi: 10.1139/gen-2015-0090. Epub 2015 Sep 14.

Atypical mitochondrial inheritance patterns in eukaryotes.

Author information

1
a Department of Biological Sciences, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada.
2
b Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6, Canada.

Abstract

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is predominantly maternally inherited in eukaryotes. Diverse molecular mechanisms underlying the phenomenon of strict maternal inheritance (SMI) of mtDNA have been described, but the evolutionary forces responsible for its predominance in eukaryotes remain to be elucidated. Exceptions to SMI have been reported in diverse eukaryotic taxa, leading to the prediction that several distinct molecular mechanisms controlling mtDNA transmission are present among the eukaryotes. We propose that these mechanisms will be better understood by studying the deviations from the predominating pattern of SMI. This minireview summarizes studies on eukaryote species with unusual or rare mitochondrial inheritance patterns, i.e., other than the predominant SMI pattern, such as maternal inheritance of stable heteroplasmy, paternal leakage of mtDNA, biparental and strictly paternal inheritance, and doubly uniparental inheritance of mtDNA. The potential genes and mechanisms involved in controlling mitochondrial inheritance in these organisms are discussed. The linkage between mitochondrial inheritance and sex determination is also discussed, given that the atypical systems of mtDNA inheritance examined in this minireview are frequently found in organisms with uncommon sexual systems such as gynodioecy, monoecy, or andromonoecy. The potential of deviations from SMI for facilitating a better understanding of a number of fundamental questions in biology, such as the evolution of mtDNA inheritance, the coevolution of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes, and, perhaps, the role of mitochondria in sex determination, is considerable.

KEYWORDS:

ADN mitochondrial; détermination du sexe; heteroplasmy; hétéroplasmie; mitochondrial DNA; mitochondrial inheritance; paternal leakage; sex determination; transmission mitochondriale; transmission paternelle occasionnelle

PMID:
26501689
DOI:
10.1139/gen-2015-0090
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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